The Iowa Department of Public Health has been notified of one additional positive case of an Iowan with COVID-19, for a total of 18 positive cases. The individual is an older adult age 61-80, and a resident of Dallas County.
Additionally, IDPH has determined, based on the new COVID-19 case and the announcement this evening of community spread in Omaha, NE, there is now community spread in Iowa.
Community spread occurs when individuals have been Infected with the virus in an area and cannot specifically identify the source of the infection, or do not know how or where they became infected.
Due to the detection of community spread, there are new recommendations for individuals with underlying conditions, and all Iowans should be prepared for cancellations and disruptions in routine activities.
Mitigation measures should be implemented immediately to have the most significant impact on slowing the spread of the virus.
Leaders of institutions and organizers of events should begin to act on their contingency plans related to large gatherings, including church services. Iowans should not hold or attend large gatherings of more than 250 people, and consider making adjustments for smaller gatherings with high risk groups.
At this time, school closures are not recommended.
Iowans should do their part to protect their health and the health of others:
*Individuals 60 years of age and older with underlying conditions should stay at home and avoid gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel to affected areas.
*Consider personal social distancing measures: avoid large gatherings, limit the number of attendees per gathering.
*Consider working remotely or online learning when possible.
*Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness.
*Limit non-essential work travel and gatherings.
A public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.
Iowans can help prevent the spread of illness by following simple daily precautions including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and IDPH recommends getting the flu vaccine. Influenza activity is widespread in Iowa and as along as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to receive the vaccine.